Minn. state parks, trails stay open amid COVID-19 pandemic

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The landmark Swinging Bridge in Jay Cooke State Park
The landmark Swinging Bridge spans the St. Louis River in Jay Cooke State Park near Carlton, Minn.
Andrew Krueger | MPR News 2019

One thing that’s still open amid the pandemic: nature.

State parks and trails will remain open for now, the Department of Natural Resources says, but park offices and visitor centers will close during the coronavirus outbreak. Parks will transition to a self-pay system for visitors during the closure.

“We recognize the importance of nature in helping to relieve stress during this time and are committed to providing a safe environment for our visitors to enjoy, while ensuring we protect the health of our staff and Minnesota’s communities,” the DNR said in a statement.

The DNR says it’s monitoring COVID-19 conditions and will respond as needed, taking guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health.

Stress and anxiety run rampant during crises like this. Exercise can help mitigate those feelings, though, and boost your immune system.

However, the same general guidance for preventing coronavirus’ spread applies for nature, too:

  • No large groups

  • Practice social distancing

  • Wash your hands often and well

  • Stay home if you’re sick or have been potentially exposed to COVID-19

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